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Blind Man Successfully Climbs Mount Everest

by : Hannah Smith on : 02 Jun 2021 12:39
Blind Man Successfully Climbs Mount EverestPA Images

A Chinese man has become only the third blind person in the world to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and the first blind Asian man to complete the climb.

Zhang Hong, a 46-year old from Chongqing in southwest China, took just three days to scale the world’s tallest mountain, setting off from Base Camp on the Nepalese side on May 24, and returning having completed the achievement on May 27.

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He made his way up the 8,849m peak with the help of three high-altitude guides who helped him find his way along the trail and avoid the numerous hazards along the notoriously intense climb.

Zhang Hong became the first blind Asian man to scale Everest (PA Images)PA Images

Speaking to Reuters about his experience, Zhang said:

I was still very scared, because I couldn’t see where I was walking, and I couldn’t find my centre of gravity, so sometimes I would fall.

But I kept thinking because even though it was hard, I had to face those difficulties, this is one component of climbing, there are difficulties and dangers and this is the meaning of climbing.

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Zhang has spent more than half of his life living with blindness, after losing his vision to glaucoma at the age of just 21. He began learning to climb under the guidance of his friend Qiang Zi, himself a mountain guide, after being inspired by the story of Erik Weihenmayer, an American who became the first blind person in the world to scale Everest in 2001.

Following his achievement, Weihenmayer was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, which wrote, ‘There is no way to put what Erik has done in perspective because no one has ever done anything like it. It is a unique achievement, one that in the truest sense pushes the limits of what man is capable of.’

Mount Everest recently reopened to foreign climbers (PA Images)PA Images

Zhang says that he hopes to prove, like Weihenmayer, that anyone is capable of achieving anything they set their minds to, no matter how impossible it may seem.

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He said:

No matter if you’re disabled or normal, whether you have lost your eyesight or you have no legs or hands, it doesn’t matter as long as you have a strong mind, you can always complete a thing that other people say you can’t.

The blind climber was among the first foreigners to ascend Mount Everest from the Nepalese side in more than a year, after the country closed the base camp to non-citizens as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

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Credits

Reuters
  1. Reuters

    First blind Chinese mountaineer climbs Mount Everest